A Magistrate Judge in the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey has held that an attorney defending a legal malpractice suit, is not limited to the discovery previously conducted in an underlying action.  In Smith v. DeZao, a family hired an attorney to represent them in a wrongful death suit against a New Jersey timeshare company, which booked a vacation for the family at a resort in Mexico. Continue reading

The Supreme Court of Idaho has reversed the dismissal of a legal malpractice action on the basis that the case was not time-barred under the applicable statute of limitations.  In Minnick v. Ennis, a husband and wife owned a large tract of land in Idaho, which they intended to develop into a residential subdivision.  They hired an attorney to assist them with the project.   Continue reading

The Supreme Court of Kansas has disbarred an attorney for his conduct as defense counsel in a capital murder case. In the Matter of Hawver, a Kansas attorney represented a criminal defendant accused of murder, despite having no prior experience trying capital murder cases. He also did not associate with competent co-counsel, or obtain additional training or education to become competent.

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The New York Appellate Division has affirmed a judgment dismissing a legal malpractice claim against a New York attorney and his law firm. In Mizuno v. Nunberg, a client hired an attorney to represent him in bankruptcy proceedings, after a bank foreclosed on the client’s property. The client was unable to stop the foreclosure, and then filed a legal malpractice action against the attorney. He was successful in that action and recovered the value he lost as a result of the foreclosure sale.

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California’s Fourth District Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a legal malpractice action on the basis that it was barred by the applicable statute of limitations.  In Torres v. Blankenship, a client hired an attorney to represent her in various legal proceedings over a two year period.  Unbeknownst to the client, the attorney had been under investigation by the State Bar of California, and was suspended from practicing law for the final two months of his representation.  The attorney subsequently informed the client of his suspension and she terminated his services.

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Insight: The short answer is yes.  As a party to a lawsuit, you are responsible for paying the costs of litigation.  These expenses include court filing fees, medical record copying costs, deposition transcript fees, and expert witness fees.

As your attorney suggested, these costs are typically advanced by lawyer.  Upon successful resolution of the case, he will then deduct this amount along with his fee, and pay the balance to you.

The Supreme Court of Nebraska has suspended an attorney for an indefinite term after finding that she disclosed confidential information about a client.  In re Donna J. Tonderum, a Nebraska attorney informed a prosecutor that she believed one of her former clients was guilty of a crime.

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The Supreme Court of Louisiana has disbarred an attorney after finding that he failed to refund unearned attorney’s fees to 26 clients.  In re Charles Tanner Phillips, II, a Louisiana attorney accepted and kept attorney’s fees from multiple clients, but did not perform any substantive legal work in return.

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Insight: If you believe that your wife is having an affair with her lawyer you may report him to your state’s attorney disciplinary committee.  Most states have adopted some form of American Bar Association Model Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.7 (a) (2), which states that a lawyer should not represent a client if there is a risk that the lawyer will be materially limited by his own interests.  This would include a personal relationship with a client and may be grounds to force withdrawal of the attorney’s representation.

Since your divorce is not final until the divorce decree is signed by the judge, any form of adultery, may be used to your legal advantage, as long as you live in a state that recognizes fault in divorce proceedings.  If you are able to prove that your wife is having an affair with her attorney during the divorce proceedings, you will have a better chance of obtaining custody of your children and may be entitled to a larger portion of the marital assets.